Schalke players attacked with eggs by their fans after Bundesliga relegation

Sport

Schalke players and staff were attacked with eggs and were threatened by their own fans on Wednesday after a 1-0 defeat by Arminia Bielefeld sealed their relegation from the Bundesliga for the first time in 33 years.

Upon their return to the Schalke stadium early on Wednesday they were met by about 500 to 600 fans and were scheduled to briefly discuss the situation with them. “Within the framework of this meeting there were some still unidentified individuals who clearly stepped over lines that are non-negotiable for Schalke,” the club said in a statement.

Gelsenkirchen police said fans had started lighting fireworks and flares around the stadium immediately after the game. “Once the team arrived and stepped off the bus there were severe protests,” police said in a statement. “Eggs were thrown at the players who were also verbally attacked.” It said a strong police presence on site was mobilised to avoid any escalation.

Schalke are among the most fiercely supported clubs in Germany and typically draw more than 60,000 fans to home matches. “While there is understandable frustration and anger for the relegation, the club will never accept it when the physical integrity of its players and staff is put in danger,” Schalke said. “The club sharply condemns this behaviour and naturally supports its staff.”

Having gone through five coaches in this campaign, Schalke, Bundesliga runners-up as recently as 2018, have conceded 76 goals, more than any team in an entire season since 2000. This is Schalke’s fourth relegation and the first since 1988. The club have won the German title seven times, the last of which came in 1958.

Fabian Klos’s powerful strike in the 50th minute sealed the fate of Schalke, who have managed only two wins. Schalke never really threatened an equaliser, and went down to 10 men when Malick Thiaw was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute. Ralf Fährmann saved a late penalty to keep the scoreline down.

At the final whistle, Schalke players were left crying, swearing or just looking on in complete shock. “This is a very bitter hour for all Schalke supporters,” said Dimitrios Grammozis, who took over as head coach last month. “We are brutally disappointed that we now know for certain that we have to go to the second division. Despite this disappointment we have to look ahead and field a team that will make our fans proud once more.”

Bayern Munich put a turbulent week behind them and moved to within one win of a ninth straight league title with a 2-0 home victory against Bayer Leverkusen. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting volleyed Bayern ahead in the seventh minute, with Joshua Kimmich adding a second six minutes later after a defensive error from the visitors.

With the head coach, Hansi Flick, stating his desire to leave at the end of the season after Bayern’s Champions League defence was ended by PSG, this was a welcome win. It also took them 10 points clear at the top as RB Leipzig slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat at Cologne. Jonas Hector scored both goals for the hosts in the second half, either side of Amadou Haidara’s strike as Julian Nagelsmann’s side were punished for missing a string of first-half chances. Eintracht Frankfurt moved above Wolfsburg and into third place with a 2-0 home victory over Augsburg.